It’s not “eight maids a-milking,” but eight wrestlers survived, each now poised to fight another day. That was Saturday’s theme for the Bluejays, who left that afternoon with districts on their mind.
At the Feb. 2 event, Jacob Nelson, Kaleb Olejniczak, Justin Stammer and Cole Snyder finished at top of their weight class at this season’s sectionals hosted by Webster City H.S.
Four other Bluejays, Cole Nelson, Riece Graham, Jeb Stewart and Erick Funez are also headed to districts after placing second in their respective bracket.
At 138 pounds, Olejniczak continued his solid season with back-to-back 17-2 technical fall wins. His two victories tied him for most in school history (174) with former Perry wrestler Zach Thompson.
“Coach Mark Weber has been preaching the last couple weeks that these next few tournaments are just like any other, so that is my mindset,” Olejniczak said. “Just go out and wrestle well, and it will take care of itself.”
Jacobs’ path to first was a little different. The 132-pound junior won his first contest with a pinfall and then went the distance in a hard-fought 7-5 decision.
Stammer’s two wins came in decision victories. The first, a 13-5 Major Decision followed by a close 7-5 decision in his 152-pound final match. He’s looking forward to the next stage.
“All I need to do is relax, have fun, and score points,” he said.
It was a similar tale for Snyder, who in his 182-pound match, earned a 10-2 MD before winning the final contest with a 10-7.
“It was a tough fight in Webster City and good experience for districts,” Snyder said. “We had a really good crowd and made the atmosphere exciting.”
This will be Snyder’s first venture into a longer postseason, but that doesn’t faze him a bit and he is anxiously awaiting what’s to come.
“For being new to districts and so close to state it’s also very exciting,” he said. “I (can’t) wait to wrestle.”
The four other district representatives also recorded some tough battles.
Cole Nelson (106) began his day with a win but found himself rooting for a previous opponent after dropping the first place match.
Cole Nelson moved on because he defeated the wrestler who won his consolation bracket and cannot wait for this coming Saturday.
“Being new to high school and making it to districts is very exciting,” he said. “I am focused on a fighting mentality and getting through districts and making it to state. I will continue to work hard and reach for my goal.”
The same scenario played out for Funez (160). He won his first affair but then dropped the first place match. He also moved on by virtue of “rule.”
It was a busy afternoon for both Stewart (145) and Graham (113), who each contended with four different adversaries.
Graham won his first bout with a quick 36-second pinfall but failed to advance in the semifinals. He received a 15-0 TF win before his second place 11-8 decision victory.
Stewart also won his first match, but with an 8-2 decision. After dropping the first place contest, he recorded an injury win for third place. In his second-place match, he claimed an SV-1 8-6 win.
“Guys wrestled their tails off on Saturday at sectionals,” head coach Mark Weber said. “We are unbelievably proud of their fight. We won nearly all of the close matches.”
Despite not finishing one or two, Perry’s Sebastian Hernandez (220), Tanner Burgin (120), Alex Fickbohm (126) and Jered Narber (170) ended their season with fifth place finishes.
The remaining eight Bluejays will now focus all their attention to the Feb. 9 district tournament hosted by ADM High School.
“Some of these matches will require fight for six minutes or more, and that’s what it takes at this level; qualifying (and placing) at the state tournament is a big accomplishment,” Weber said. “If each individual takes care of their own business, Saturday can be another great day for Bluejay Wrestling.”